House was one of my favorite TV shows of all time. At a critical point in every episode, Dr. Gregory House turned to his staff of diagnosticians, looked at that week’s patient and said, “Everybody lies.” Well, the same thing goes for everyone who uses online dating.
I learned this the hard way. And I hope my experience and these tips help you avoid pitfalls of online dating so that you can meet your ideal mate, maybe even your soulmate, in the least stressful way possible.
Typically, my days fill up with work on my public relations, marketing and special events planning assignments. I talk to the media, clients and vendors and run around doing errands. On the side, I try to solve dilemmas for my son in New Jersey and my younger son studying in Beijing, China. Oh. I’m also a regular at fundraisers, charity events, business lunches and dinners.
Around midnight, I sit down at my desk in my home office, turn on the computer and then the real work starts. I hunch over and begin to research and write to women on POF and OK Cupid to find a date for Saturday night.
That might sound easy, but guess again. Although it seems like hundreds of eligible single women fall within the age range I have selected, live within the mileage limit I have chosen and say they have similar interests, values and goals, it gets complicated.
I am in my 60’s, twice divorced, and live alone in a big house on the south shore of Long Island. On my quest, I have traveled to dozens and dozens of meet-and-greet coffee dates at Starbucks and diners across the landscape of Nassau and Suffolk counties. Still, I have yet to come close to figuring out what women want.
Before you can take a step toward one of those weekend soirees, you must first join at least one Internet dating site. You can join sites like POF and OK Cupid for free. Or choose a paid site like Match and EHarmony.You can also join one that starts off free and then offers more and more services for more and more money. In fact, you can find dating sites, mostly paid, for almost every religion, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation and race imaginable.
When I started this adventure almost eight years ago, I joined two paid sites, JDate and New Beginnings. Then I learned about the sites without membership fees and I joined POF. I found that most of the women in my age group and geographical location showed up on the paid and the free sites.
Thanks to my nights at the computer and my dates, I learned a few things that I’d like to share. I came up with 6 tips to help you navigate the online dating maze.
TIP 1: FREE SITES
Pick a free site to begin. You might as well.
Once you log on, choose a screen name and secure password. Take care with the screen name because your screen name stays with you and identifies you in that world. So make it something memorable, catchy and personal. Then post photos of yourself, answer some basic questions and compose an essay that describes you and who you hope to meet.
Here’s how to do it all.
TIP 2: YOUR PHOTO
No matter what anyone says or how evolved or un-shallow they claim to be, I bet that at least 90 percent of my fellow AARP-aged, online daters look at a potential date’s photo first. Then they decide whether to continue to read the facts and profile. Believe me, I have seen some great photo choices and some really horrendous ones. Don’t go the horrendous route.
Use at least four photos taken within the past six months and put the month and year at the bottom of the picture.
Make sure you have two close-ups of your head and shoulders and two full body shots where you don’t stand too far away. Smile from the heart in all of them. Wear different outfits and try different poses.
Make sure you post your best head and shoulders picture as your profile shot. That’s the one everyone looks at first, and you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
Never post photos of yourself with other people or pets. Stay away from photos with grandkids, members of the opposite sex your age, girlfriends, puppies and pictures where you wear sunglasses.
Make sure the photo aligns properly and that it shows your full face. Also, no one cares about the scenery from your hotel balcony in Paris or the roses you grow on the side of your house. Quite simply and honestly, they want to see you.
I always look for a woman whose expression and eyes say she is friendly, bright and approachable. Sometimes I’m right and sometimes I’m wrong.
TIP 3: ALL ABOUT YOU Continue →